Scared of Pain? Here Are the Best and Worst Places To Get a Tattoo

One of the most common questions we get in the shop is “where does it hurt most to get a tattoo?”. Honestly, it’s a pretty subjective question. It depends on individual tolerance, some people are sensitive while getting a tattoo, some people feel nothing. In the end, the pain is worth it because you’ll go home with a beautiful tattoo that will last a lifetime! If it was that bad people wouldn’t do it.

In general the most painful areas to tattoo are bony areas, or areas with a lot of nerve endings. Areas with thin skin definitely aren’t the most pleasant! Let’s go over some of the most painful, and least painful spots to get a tattoo.

Least Painful

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 4.43.18 PM.png


The shoulder is one of the least painful spots to get a tattoo. The skin is thick and there aren’t a lot of nerve endings. This is also a pretty big space, so if you’re nervous about pain and want a large tattoo, this is a great choice for you!

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 5.30.56 PM.png


The forearm is another great spot for tattoo newbies, it’s a big space to create beautiful artwork. Again, it’s one of those places with thick skin and few nerves. It’s also great if you want a tattoo that’s easy to show off!

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 5.30.33 PM.png


The calf is a great place for your first tattoo! It’s a fatty and thick skinned place, meaning there isn’t going to be a lot of pain. This is a huge area, meaning it’s perfect for intricate, large tattoos.

Most Painful

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 4.18.25 PM.png


The ribs can be a painful place to get a tattoo, there isn’t a lot of muscle or fat. The ribs are also close to your central nervous system, which make it an extra sensitive spot. This is also a place that moves a lot, meaning while healing the tattoo goes through more trauma.

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.12.12 PM.png

Feet/ Hands

Feet and hands have extremely thin skin, it’s a pretty bony area. The top of the foot is especially bony with many nerve endings, but the side of the foot is more cushioned. Hands and fingers are a similar, they’re bony and filled with ligaments. The artist may need to go over the same place multiple times in order to get the skin to take the ink.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 4.29.25 PM.png

Inside Elbow/ Knees

The inside of the arm has two major arteries running through it, making it extra sensitive. The pain tends to spread to other areas of the arm when tattooing this spot. The back of the knee has especially thin skin with lots of nerves at the surface. These spots can also be tricky to heal since they’re parts of your body that are constantly moving.

Tattoos are something that will last you a lifetime. Choosing placement carefully is important. There are many things to consider such, such as the ability to hide your tattoo or how well it flows with other work you have. In the end, pain shouldn’t be something that motivates whether or not you get a tattoo. The pain will stop, but the beauty of your tattoo will last a lifetime.